On Tuesday 5 August 2014 the Chris Burger Petro Jackson Players Fund lit up the Montecasino Ballroom in pomp and splendour, as the annual ‘For the love of the Game’ banquet aptly honoured rugby and its heroes.

This year, presenting sponsor Seartec SA, the full Springbok team along with their management, celebrated their heroes and the recipients of the Players’ Fund. To date, the fund has helped over 400 rugby players in SA since its inception. Currently there are 105 recipients, five of whom were in attendance last night – Dan Lombard, Anthony Stearns, Erich Small, Pierre Lamont, and Gerhard Swarts.

Since 1980, the Players Fund has been supporting victims of serious head, neck and spinal cord injuries sustained whilst playing rugby, and is not limited to professional players. Founded in 1980 by its current Chairman and past Springbok player and team manager - Morné du Plessis and his fellow Western Province teammates, the Fund has become a household name and this standing event has become the highlight of the rugby social calendar. Through an annual grant from SA Rugby, partners such as SA Rugby Legends, Tsogo Sun, SuperSport, as well as the two fundraising events annually, which have typically been a golf day and the banquet with the Springboks, recipients of the Fund are helped according to their needs.

Over 400 guests attended the world-class event, among them Springbok captain, Jean de Villiers. ‘It is a privilege for the Springboks to be part of this laudable initiative. This Banquet has historically been one of celebration and honour to the game, as well as its heroes. It is humbling to witness the reach and respect that it has earned over the years, and we’d like to thank each partner and sponsor for spurring that on.’

With a keynote address from rugby legend Ashwin Willemse, to second to none entertainment from the popular electrical string quartet, The Muse and modern day swing trio, Swing City, the fund hosted an evening that will long be included in the tour-bus banter and the on-field chirps.

Media partner SuperSport carried a live stream from the event between 20h00-22h00, to ensure that friends of the fund did not miss a thing.

Morné du Plessis, Chairman of the Chris Burger Petro Jackson Fund, said: ‘The Banquet’s theme is For the Love of the Game. Thank you to our many sponsors and suppliers. It really is about the love of the game.’